Posts Tagged With: Banana Leaf

Kuwaitaminute! The Best Of The Country In One Week.

Happy April! I can barely believe we have only 8 weeks left here in Kuwait.

From a teacher’s perspective, spring break is over, and we only have a few more lessons to plan, papers to grade, and, sadly, smiling faces to greet. Why is teaching so fantastic, you ask? Because every year is a living organism. Unique in its own way, inevitably different from the last. There is a birth, growth, and renewal every nine months unlike any other profession.

From an expat’s perspective, there’s a lot I need to cram in before saying “Masalama” to this country for the last time. Luckily, my mother came to visit in March, and I had to chance to highlight the best of Kuwait over the course of one week. Together we ate at my favorite restaurants, saw my favorite sights, and laughed at my favorite enigmas. Please enjoy the photo journey as I give you, “The Best of Kuwait in One Week”.

IMG_4785My lovely mother in front of the Kuwait Towers. We unfortunately couldn’t go into the towers themselves because they were under construction (for how long? who knows…) so we relaxed outside for a while, taking in the distinct smell of Kuwait ocean air. We snapped a few photos and then walked to one of my favorite shisha/smoothie cafes on the Gulf, Fresh Mango.

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Another highlight of our trip was the new addition at The Avenues. They’ve added an entire “Souk” section that I had never seen before. We spent hours wandering the passageways, peering into “traditional” shops. In the above photo my mother is trying Arabic coffee for the first time. If I recall, she said she preferred American.

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The impressive new addition at The Avenues.

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It’s not a trip to Kuwait without visiting the Friday Market. My mom was a bit overwhelmed with the crowds and the size of it all, but we had fun looking at the strange knick-knacks.

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I couldn’t believe they were selling Sea Monkeys at the Friday Market! I haven’t seen these since I was a kid. I had to restrain myself from pulling out my wallet and buying one (or three).

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My mom pointed this out, otherwise I would have walked right by. We also had this when I was a kid; it’s a triops. We actually had this same kit, and “grew” the same triops. To be honest, it’s a bit disgusting in hindsight. If you currently live in Kuwait, these would make a great gift for the scientist in your family!

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As always, we had to stop and stare at the shiny things : )

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This is my favorite restaurant in Kuwait, Banana Leaf. I have blogged about it before, but here is a photo of my all-time favorite dish, the thali. It’s a traditional Indian lunch platter, with the most delicious assortment of vegetarian curries, sauces, and sautes. I can never get enough! (And it’s all for 1 KD!)

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Sean and my mother at the Old Souk (Souk Mubarikiya) in Kuwait City. We were just about to load up on some baklava.

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At the Old Souk, Sean tells a gripping narrative of Kuwaiti history.

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I finally found the Sri Lankan restaurant in Kuwait City! While I loved it, my mom was fanning flames out of her mouth. It’s right across from the McDonald’s/bus stop area. I can’t wait to go back!

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We also spent an afternoon at the Old Souk with some shisha and storytelling. This area is also a new addition to the Old Souk; I love the architecture.
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For the first time, I stumbled upon an actual garden within the Old Souk!

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Spending a relaxing afternoon at Souq Sharq.

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My mom would live very happily in the Middle East; she loves all things pickled and pureed!

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We had a great time gawking at the fish in the fish market. I never buy anything, and always wish I had the knowledge and gumption to do so…
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Business taking place at the Souq Sharq fish market.

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An evening stroll along the Gulf…

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Oh, my maritime husband…

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I liked this photo because it shows a nicely manicured street near the Parliament. Kuwait has its spots of beauty, you just have to hunt it down : )

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The Grand Mosque.

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One of my mom’s favorite restaurants was Zaatar W Zeit, at Marina Mall. She loves flatbread and spices!

IMG_4670Just another beautiful mosque in Salmiya.

There you have it, folks. Hopefully I have done Kuwait justice. I love this time of year, when the air is crisp and the sun is warm. We had a great time together, and I can’t wait to see my family back in Wisconsin in one 57 days…  not that I’m counting.

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74 Days…

Anything short of 100 doesn’t seem like much these days. Less than $100, not a lot of money. Less than 100 pennies, not worth a paper bill. Less than 100 friends on Facebook, less than 100 hours of work, less than 100 vitamins you take in a year, all of these numbers amount to nothing too impressive. When I counted the days left on the calendar and saw that we had less than 100 days left in Kuwait, I was shocked. As of today, we’ve got 74 days left in the country. On June 10, we board a plane to the beautiful Midwest, never to return to Kuwait again (most likely). 74 days is not very many!

I decided to start a bucket list for my final months in Kuwait… I haven’t given it TOO much thought, so if you think of something that is a “must do” before leave, post it below!

1. Go bowling
2. Visit Entertainment City
3. See “Fires of Kuwait” at the Science Center
4. Buy a day pass at a fancy hotel to lounge on the beach
5. Find the Sri Lankan restaurant in Kuwait City that our neighbor’s maid raves about
6. Visit Fahaheel one more time
7. Visit the House of Mirrors
8. Visit Muttla Ridge one last time
9. Sail in the Gulf

I’ve only got 9 things, so it shouldn’t be too hard to cross them all off within the next 74 days. I’ll keep you posted!

Today’s blog focuses, again, on the little things in Kuwait. It is the end of March, and we have our spring break in early April. Until then, I plan on eating out, taking walks, and soaking up the scenery in my neighborhood. Let’s get started…

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Interesting motivational posters at my favorite Indian restaurant…

IMG_4499What they lack in ambiance, they make up for in delicious, DELICIOUS Indian food. Check them out here.

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This exploration all happened one weekend that I went out with my friends Abby and Wyn. After we visited Banana Leaf (the Indian restaurant), we found an interesting snack shop, full of the most delicious home made snacks, both salty and sweet. It is right next to Banana Leaf, and is called Fakhri Sweet Shop, in Salmiya.

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We thoroughly enjoyed walking around the neighborhood. (Check out the interesting mosque and the gigantic tree!)

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I think what I will miss the most about the cuisine in Kuwait is how easy it is to be a vegetarian here. Not to mention the idea of “snacks for dinner”. We had a gift certificate to a Lebanese restaurant called Al Berdawny, so Sean and I went there for lunch a week weeks ago. Look at this amazing spread! There was hummus, baba ganouj, salad, picked vegetables, sambosas, flatbread, and, of course, Sean had some chicken and french fries. What a feast it was! I would certainly return to Al Berdawny. Rumor is they’ve got a delicious breakfast/lunch buffet, too.

IMG_4509After our lunch at Al Berdawny, we decided we had better walk off all those calories. We strolled along the beach from the Marina Mall area up to the Science Center.

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You can see the Kuwait Science Center in the background.

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I feel a little spoiled, but we have seen sooooo many traditional dhows (boats) in Kuwait, that they have lost some of the luster for me! Dubai, Doha, and Kuwait all have magnificent displays of their sailing history. It has been magical to learn about the transformation of these countries from a pearling/fishing culture to oil giants.

IMG_4520Chasing pigeons at the Science Center.

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Even though it was a hazy day, we loved spending time along the Gulf.

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Sean posing in front of some strange alien statues in the Science Center.

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Dr. Who fans: Sean found the Tardus!

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We didn’t have time to visit the Imax, but looked at the prices anyway. I was surprised to see they had separate prices for nannies….

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Most of these pictures were taken around Liberation Week, which was the last week of February. Some people really go all out and decorate their cars! Check out this guy’s rig!

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Ahhhh, our favorite after-school snack. (Or meal!) The Iranian bread guy. There is  a small shop near our school that bakes fresh bread in kilns every afternoon. Each piece of bread costs something like 10 fil, which is the equivalent of 5 cents! We never fail to buy a bit too many pieces, then stuff ourselves with delicious, homemade bread. Sometimes I put toppings on them and make pizzas. Mmmmmm.


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I never post enough pictures of people in my blog, so I worked extra hard to snap a few shots at my friend Abby’s birthday party. We went to her favorite restaurant, a Korean place in our neighborhood. It is the BEST Korean food I have ever had!


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Me and my lovely English teachers/girlfriends. Amber (left) teaches grade 6 English and Humanties, and Sharon (right) is my partner in crime. Not only is she a dear friend, but we team teach grade 8 together. I don’t know what I would do without her.

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Sean had the camera with him one day that he was walking home from school, and snapped a picture of some boys playing soccer in our neighborhood. You have to be creative with your play-space in the desert!

Well, there you have it. A brief caption of our lives over the past month. I will try to post again before we head to spring break; the weather has been fantastic and I’ve had a lot of opportunities to get out and explore the city.

Stay well, and see you next time!

Categories: Kuwait | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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